Pet Adoption Info
Everything from choosing a pet, to bringing them home!
Adopting a new pet is an exciting time. Whether an adorable puppy or kitten, or a more mature addition, it can bring new energy and happiness to your home. But as all pet owners know, every pet requires a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you do your research and discuss your new pet among your whole family, you’re setting you and your pet up for a long, successful relationship.
Choosing the Best Pet for You
The first step in adopting a pet is deciding what type you want. This can be the hardest step as there are so many factors to consider.
The way you live your life is a very important factor to consider when choosing a pet. Things you need to consider include your time commitments, if you have other animals already in the household, if you have small children or elderly family members living with you, if you spend time outdoors, and your overall activity level. If you have a time-consuming job and work 60 hours a week, a young puppy will not be a good fit for you. Instead a bird, or an older cat would suit your lifestyle better. An older dog would also be an option if you are near home to let it out during your 12 hour work days.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors a dog could be the perfect companion. If you have small children, it will be an important factor that will influence your choice. Large or hyper dogs could accidentally harm a small child, so a cat or a quiet lap dog might be suited for you. You want to introduce a pet that your children will love, not fear!
It’s important to really assess your lifestyle before getting a pet as the way you live ultimately impacts the way your pet lives too. You want your pet to be the happiest they can be, so compatibility between you two and your environment is key.
Cat vs. Dog
Cats and dogs are very different animals, and therefore are very different pets. In order to decide which one is right for you there are several options you need to consider. Are you an outdoor person, or do you prefer the indoors? If you prefer the outdoors, you will probably enjoy walking a dog once a day. Are you willing to put the effort into training your pet? If not, a cat would be better for you as there is not much training involved with them. Finally, its important to think of your pet’s personality matching your needs. Cats are often independent and enjoy their alone time, while dogs on the other hand, love interaction.
Of course, there are plenty of other options than just cats and dogs. Birds are fairly stationary pets (except for when you let them fly to exercise) that can provide chatter and company. Many adults prefer rabbits to cats – they have a similar cuddly, curious nature but they are contained in cages when you’re not home and they are extremely quiet. Other small animals and aquariums are great options too.
Small vs. Large
Choosing between a small or large dog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when choosing a pet. The size of your pet can determine a lot of things such as, travelling, exercise, the amount of food, the size of your house/apartment etc. A larger dog can provide security, however a smaller dog can provide comfort and may be easier to cuddle.
Mature vs. Young
While adopting a puppy or kitten is really fun and a great learning experience for your family, there are benefits to adopting mature animals as well. Puppies are adorable, but they require a lot more attention than mature dogs as they need house and behavior training. Most older dogs are already house trained and can recognize basic commands, and therefore need less constant monitoring. Animal shelters always have plenty of mature cats ready for adoption. These are usually well-behaved, friendly cats with established personalities. Shelters will help you find the perfect mature cat to bring home.
Pure vs. Mixed
Both purebred dogs and a mixed breed dogs have positives and negatives, it is all about what you’re looking for. With purebreds you have a better chance of knowing the general physical and behavioral characteristics such as size, and personality. However, with purebreds you also have a greater risk of genetic health problems. Mixed breeds are thought to have more genetic diversity and therefore are less prone to health problems. But purebred vs. mixed breed is a very personal decision when you’re adopting a new dog.
Adopt the Pet of Your Dreams
Once you’ve decided on the type of pet you want, you need to go out and get them! There are several options available. Make sure to research your options online and by visiting to make sure you’re getting your pet from a reputable organization or breeder.
Rescue Organizations/ Shelters
Rescue organizations and shelters provide a wonderful service by rescuing and housing homeless dogs and cats. Many of these facilities hold adoption events and also regular hours where you can visit and interact with the animals before deciding which is perfect for you. Most organizations will screen behavior and health of the animals, providing you with a lot of information to help you make the right decision. Some even cover the cost of spaying/neutering and vaccinations, asking you to pay only a nominal adoption fee. Also, many organizations screen the prospective adoptee rigorously to ensure that their animals go to an appropriate home.
For puppies or pure-bred cats, your best option is to find a reputable breeder. You should be able to meet the breeder, see their facilities, learn the genetic history of your puppy and meet both mom and litter several times before taking one home. Many breeders will also offer follow-up services to ensure your new puppy is fitting in with the family and lifestyle.
Bringing Your Pet Home
What You’ll Need
Adding a pet to your family means that you’ll need to purchase supplies, such a bed, possibly a crate depending on the age of your pet, toys, food, treats, a litter box, a leash, etc. Also, you’re going to need to find a good veterinarian. Ask your friends and family for references, or use the vet recommended by your breeder or adoption organization.
What to Expect
Don’t expect your new pet to form a strong relationship with your family right in the beginning. Whether you’ve adopted a young kitten or puppy, or a more mature animal, this transition is going to take some time. Once everyone in your household gets to know each other and are comfortable in their environment, the bond will grow naturally.
For dogs and puppies, training is essential in order to have an enjoyable experience with your pet. Make sure that your pet is properly trained, either by taking classes or by self-teaching your pup. Plan how you will train and discipline your new pet before bringing them home, so their experience within your family will be consistent and positive.
Enjoy Your Pet
Finally, make sure you enjoy your pet when you bring them home. Spend time with them, and soon you won’t be able to picture your life without them!
Adoption can provide a young pet with a family to grow up with, or a mature pet with a second chance. The health and wellness benefits of having pets are well documented as well. Either way, adopting a pet provides benefits for both the new parents and the new pets.
Pets Are Not Gifts
Choosing to adopt a new pet is a serious decision that deserves consideration. Pets should not be surprise gifts to spouses and or even young children. They will benefit from being part of the decision process, rather than being surprised. You could also be making assumptions that your loved ones will want the same pet that you do – or any pet for that matter.
When it comes to Christmas, you may be thinking ‘new pet’ under the tree but it’s almost always a bad idea. When your new pet joins your household, you should aim for a calm environment and a consistent schedule to make the transition smoother for people and pets. Christmas time is almost never calm or consistently scheduled!
If your heart is set on a new pet at Christmas, consider ‘surprising’ your family with only pet supplies and the promise that the search for a new family pet will begin in January. THAT would be a happy new year for everyone involved – especially your newly adopted pet.